Chief Oshkosh

Biography of Chief Oshkosh

Chief Souligny
Painted portrait of Souligny, a chief of the Menominees. He is depicted wearing a James Madison Peace Medal. By Samuel Marsden Brookes. Original is at Wisconsin Historical Society.

Among the chiefs of the Menomonee who led their family to the heights of Abraham, were Osauwishkeno, or the “Yellow Bird,” and Ka Cha Ka wa she Ka or “The Notchmaker. ”

Souligny was a mixed blood born 1783. His grandmother was the reputed daughter of Souligny, an early French trader who was a son-in-law of Sieur de Langlade’s second handed wife. This chief was highly regarded by the tribe and the white. He led his band with the English in the war of 1812 and the Stambough expedition in 1832 and was a stout, good looking man, with one eye gone. He was alive in 1858 at seventy years of age, when he walked 200 miles to Milwaukee. His portrait, painted by Brooks, hangs in the Wisconsin Historical rooms at Madison.

Other chiefs in 1858 were Ahkenotoway, who was born in 1821, and Cosagascegay, who was born in 1813.

The chief of the mixed Menomonee band at Milwaukee was Onaugesa, who had married a Pottawattamie woman. He was a brother of Mrs. Joseph Roy of Green Bay and often visited her as early as 1784. Unlike most of the Milwaukee band, he was a kind and worthy Indian. He died there about 1840.

One of the historic Menominee chiefs was We Cha Ne Qua, or “the Rubber,” who is said to have protected an American during the war of 1812 by guarding his escape from Green Bay to Mackinaw. He was chief of a small band and a brother to Oshaw wah nem or the”Yellow Dog,” and cousin to L’ Espagnol, who distinguished themselves in the killing of Major Holmes at defense of Mackinac in 1814. The old chief who formerly lived at the present site of Marinette long prior to 1791 was Te Pak a ne nee.

Another chief of distinction was Ap po mich sha, or the “White Elk,” who also fought at Fort Nleigs under Tecumseh and with Proctor were defeated at Sandusky.

Another noted chief at the capture of Mackinac was ”Pe wan to not” and others who were on the war path in 1832 against the Foxes and Sacs were Old Poegonah and Wau nau ko and La Mott.

Others not named who were engaged in the McKay capture of Prairie du Chien were Chiefs Ma cha nah or “the Hairy Hand,” Kish kou nau Kati Hom or “the Cutting Off,” “Yellow Cloud” and Wau nau ko after whom Winneconne is named.

Another chief was Lapone, with a small tribe in 1836 located in a village named Waukau across the Fox river from Delhi, from which the village of Waukau gets its name.

The first missionary among the Menomonee was Alouez in 1669, since which date there have been more or less, always under the teaching of some good priest, among whom have been Andre, Marquette and others, and later Mazzuchelli established a school for them, and Rev. Van Den Broecle had his mission for them at Little Chute They now have their churches, schools and missions; yet still the weird songs of the sighing winds through the shaded forest with its carpet of trailing arbutus and the sun and moon and all the savage superstition inherited from untold ages, by the children of the wild woods, retains its spirit influence over them, and while they chant their chatechism they still propitiate the Manitou of the red man with offerings of tobacco and presents and make provision for the journey of the dead to the happy hunting grounds.

Lawson, Publius V. Story of Oshkosh, his tribe and fellow chiefs. Self Published.

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